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October hunting opportunities

REGION- There are ample opportunities this October to enjoy the crisp air and fall foliage while taking part in the state’s time-honored tradition of hunting.

Grab your base license and head out for some small game hunting! Season dates, bag limits and small game hunting regulations are available in the 2023 Hunting Regulations Summary and at Michigan.gov/SmallGame.

Cottontail rabbit and snowshoe hare: Sept. 15 – March 31.

Fox and gray squirrels (black phase included): Sept. 15 – March 31.

Quail: Oct. 20 – Nov. 14.

Ruffed grouse: Sept. 15 – Nov. 14 and Dec. 1 – Jan. 1.

Sharp-tailed grouse: Oct. 10-31, select portions of Zone 1.

Woodcock: Sept. 15 – Oct. 29.

All woodcock hunters need a free woodcock stamp, which includes registration with the federal Migratory Bird Harvest Information Program (HIP).

Pheasant (male only)

Zone 1: Oct. 10-31 (See Hunting Regulations Summary for map of open portions).

Zone 2 and 3: Oct. 20 – Nov. 14.

Zone 3: Dec.1 – Jan.1.

$25 pheasant license required for all hunters 18 years of age and older to hunt pheasants on any public land in the Lower Peninsula or on lands enrolled in the Hunting Access Program. See the 2023 Hunting Regulations Summary for exceptions.

Pheasant Releases: This year, pheasants will be released on 13 state game/wildlife areas throughout southern Michigan. Fall releases will occur from Oct. 20 to Nov. 14. Some locations will have additional releases in December.

Waterfowl hunting

Duck and goose seasons are open throughout the state this month. Visit one of Michigan’s Wetland Wonders for exceptional waterfowl hunting opportunities.

Waterfowl hunting information is available in the 2023 Waterfowl Hunting Regulations Summary and at Michigan.gov/Waterfowl.  

North Zone

Duck seasons: Sept. 30 – Nov. 26 and Dec. 2-3.

Goose season open through Dec. 16.

Middle Zone

Duck seasons: Oct. 7 – Dec. 3 and Dec. 16-17.

Goose season open Oct. 7 – Dec. 22.

South Zone

Duck seasons: Oct. 14 – Dec. 10 and Dec. 30-31.

Goose season open Oct. 14 – Dec. 10, Dec. 30 – Jan. 7 and Feb. 3-12, 2023, excluding some GMUs (see South Zone – local goose management units section of regulations summary).  

Deer hunting

Deer hunting season dates, regulations and more are available in the 2023 Hunting Regulations Summary, available at Michigan.gov/Deer.

Archery deer: Oct. 1 – Nov. 14 and Dec. 1 – Jan. 1.

Statewide on public or private lands.

Archery deer hunters in the Lower Peninsula have the option to harvest antlerless deer with their deer or deer combo license.  In the Upper Peninsula, during the archery season, hunters can take an antlerless deer with either a deer or deer combo license, except in deer management units 007, 031, 042, 048, 066, 127 and 131.

Check the 2023 Hunting Regulations Summary for deer hunting regulations, including information on the types of deer that may be harvested in each season and any antler point restrictions that may be in place.

Independence Hunt: Oct. 19-22.

Open to hunters with qualifying disabilities.

Statewide on private lands and some public lands requiring an access permit.

Check out the annual deer hunting preview, which includes a regional forecast and info about how conditions are looking for this season.

Important! Report your deer harvest online

Report your deer within 72 hours of harvest or before you transfer possession. The easiest way to report a harvest is by downloading the Michigan DNR Hunt Fish app.

Once the app is downloaded and you’ve signed in or created an account, you can enter the harvest report information.

Find more information on the harvest reporting webpage. If you need assistance, you can call your local DNR customer service center or the main Wildlife Division line at 517-284-WILD (9453) during normal business hours, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Fur harvesting

Fur harvesting regulations, bag limits and season dates are available in the 2023 Furbearer Harvest Regulations Summary and at Michigan.gov/Trapping.

Hunting seasons:

Coyote hunting: open year-round.

Fox (gray and red) hunting: Oct. 15 – March 1.

Raccoon hunting: Oct. 1 – March. 31.

Trapping seasons:

Coyote and fox (gray and red) trapping: Oct. 15 – March 1.

Raccoon trapping: Oct. 1 – March 31.

Badger, beaver, muskrat, mink and otter trapping opportunities are open in October for some areas; see the Furbearer Harvest Regulations Summary for open units, season dates and bag limits.

Reminder: Bobcat kill tags are only available through Oct. 24, 2023.

Fall turkey hunting

Fall turkey hunting is open through Nov. 14.

Check out which hunt units have leftover licenses. Buy your turkey license over the counter at a DNR license retailer, online at Michigan.gov/Turkey or in the Michigan DNR Hunt Fish app.

You can buy one fall turkey license a day until quotas are met.

Find season regulations and bag limits in the 2023 Fall Turkey Hunting Regulations Summary or at Michigan.gov/Turkey.

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